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Special Project

Special Project
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

COVID-19 Response Solutions

Finalist in Technology


COVID-19 has impacted communities in countless ways, and local governments are turning to tech visionaries like Accela, the leading provider of cloud-based solutions for government, to help ensure public safety and enable the delivery of critical citizen services. Local and state agencies in particular bear responsibility for providing guidelines and leadership during challenging times, while also juggling pandemic-induced budget constraints, limited resources, and surging citizen demand for business continuity. 

When the pandemic hit, Accela heard from city and state customers about the most critical challenges they needed solutions for immediately to keep operations running and citizens safe and healthy. In response, the CA-based company developed a suite of 13 cloud solutions within 2 weeks, each one purpose-built to help all local and state governments (not just customers) with specific use cases to offer online citizen services, enable mobile capabilities for staff, and conduct virtual inspections -- and be able to implement them within weeks, regardless of financial or human resource constraints. 

The goal of Accela’s program was to develop quick-to-implement technology solutions to ensure governments could continue to issue permits and licenses, encourage commerce and business continuity, and protect the health and safety of citizens, even when the citizens and government employees were required to work from home (many of whom had not done that previously). In tandem, the company aimed to promote the availability of the solutions and showcase to all governments how local and state agencies were using technology to keep their communities running during the pandemic.

Strategy and Execution

In March 2020, Accela set out to make a significant impact in supporting state and local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accela rapidly conducted outreach to government IT decision-makers, who were simultaneously dealing with the crisis personally and on behalf of their communities. To help as many agencies as possible, Accela targeted both existing and prospective customers, including those unfamiliar with Accela, through a multi-pronged approach of webinars, thought leadership, digital advertising, and media articles around the COVID-19 Response Solutions. Key components were developed and executed by Accela team leaders remotely across departments within days.  

After launching the solutions, Accela’s customer success, support, professional services, product, engineering, and cloud teams worked hand-in-hand with end-users to implement the solutions remotely and ensure critical services continued running digitally, which many agencies were unprepared for given the rapidly-changing nature of the pandemic. Accela was able to onboard existing customers within 1-3 days and offer 14-day-or-less implementations for new agencies. Accela also offered to provide financial assistance to agencies to ensure every jurisdiction can support their citizens during the pandemic. 

Webinar Series 

Accela sought to provide detailed information about its solutions to as many people as possible in the new virtual world. The company offered free, live, instructor-led video training courses and hosted 13 webinars -- in a matter of 6 weeks -- to provide governments with guidance on how to maximize the utility of their SaaS solutions for COVID-19 response. Accela also partnered with the govtech industry’s media authority, e.Republic, to co-host 2 additional webinars on “Navigating the Recovery: A Guide for Reopening State Government Offices and Services” and “A Local Leader’s Guide for Reopening.” These virtual events reached more than 1,000 government attendees. 

Thought Leadership Resources

Accela produced a foundational guide for the govtech industry, COVID-19 Playbook: A Framework for State and Local Government Restoration and Reopening, to help governments review considerations for the incremental opening of government departments and front counters. Prior to Accela’s Playbook, no resource existed to help guide the efforts of reopening the business of government. In conjunction with e.Republic, Accela authored a white paper, Budgeting Through Uncertainty, offering advice for government leaders on navigating declining revenues and shifting priorities in uncertain times. The resource has been downloaded hundreds of times.

Website, Social and Digital Advertising

To boost awareness and further drive digital transformation during this pivotal time, Accela bolstered social and marketing initiatives through dynamic native advertisements and a new website page dedicated exclusively to highlighting the company’s suite of COVID-19 Response Solutions, use cases and customer success stories, as well as links to extensive govtech industry resources, blogs and thought leadership pieces to serve as a helpful hub for all governments. 

Media Outreach and Sharing Customer Successes

To showcase how its customers were successfully tackling the challenges of COVID-19, Accela conducted ongoing targeted media outreach to local, national, and international audiences. Company executives engaged in more than a dozen media interviews, highlighting customers’ ability nationwide to keep business services going during the pandemic.



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